“Xenz’s artistic roots are in graffiti which he first took up in his hown town of Hull in 1987 and over a two decades career became the foundation for his extraordinary painting and draughtsmanship skills. Today he is based in London where he makes his living as an studio-based artist and muralist.
His approach to painting is partly inspired by Asian art particularly the impressionistic brush stokes used in Chinese painting. The world around him, flora, fauna, landscapes and cityscapes are reoccurring themes in his work. A sense of space and depth is also important. “I love to create infinite depth, to divide a surface with a few lines, stand back and keep dividing it up until I can walk into it.”
Slave to KRS-One’s motto “you gotta have style and learn to be original”, Xenz is a true icon of the urban art form. Welcome to his delicately arresting cuckoo-land.
Once a kid spraying the inside of derelict warehouses in Hull, Xenz has since exhibited all over the planet including a show titled The Charm of the Hummingbirds at The Outsiders in London in 2012. This popular body of work combines traditional painting techniques with bursts of spray-paint. The Screen employs gold leaf and acrylic on a vintage refurbished wooden dressing screen. Spatuletail (Two) uses acrylic and metal leaf on several layers of glass, and Going Round in Circles is a six-colour screen print, painted on gold and finished with hand-applied glitter. The hummingbirds are pretty and decorative but border on the psychedelic.
Xenz, inspired by Asian art, particularly the impressionistic brush strokes used in Chinese painting, creates opulent wildlife scenes within urban detritus to conjure up naturalistic worlds of fantasy. Elephant and Castle is an etching and silkscreen print soon to be released via The Outsiders. It depicts the boarded-up blocks of Heygate Estate behind a foreground of shadows and crows.
“Paradise is all in the mind”, says Xenz. He chops up the flora and fauna around him and creates a more paradisiac setting on canvas, one with infinite depth that he invites you to walk into.
Recently commissioned to decorate the lifts, rooms and lobby of London’s boutique hotel Malmaison, Xenz’s artistic vine is growing. He took inspiration from the surrounding plane trees and brought them inside. He wanted the guests to feel as if they “were birds coming to roost for the night”. Referencing Enid Blyton’s The Magic Far Away Tree as an influence, Xenz paints pigeons, parakeets and sparrows but he does so on a specific species of tree, one that withstands pollution. With these subtle references, Xenz invites you to explore the ideas behind his urban scrawl and marks the way for a greater understanding.
The mixture of fine art with gritty urban scrawl is a powerful one that draws you in and leaves you suspended in his dreamlike world.
2014 “Building the dream” Vertical gallery Chicago USA
2013 “The Art Of Xenz” book release November <
2012 “The charm of hummingbirds” The Outsiders, London, England
2011 – “Cloud Cuckoo Land” , Blackall Studios, London, England
2011 – “Pecking Disorder” ,The Outsiders, Newcastle upon Tyne, England
2010 – “Birds Butterflies and spraycans” , Wk exp, New Delhi, India
2010 – “These flowers grow wild” , La Hora Azul, Santa Gertudis, Ibiza, Spain
2010 – “Wonderlust” , Bicker gallery, Sydney, Australia
2009 – “Unforscenery” , Forster Gallery, London, England
2007 – “The Law Of Attraction” , Forster Gallery, London, England
2007 – “For The Love”, Workshop Gallery, Bristol, England
2006 – “Big City of Dreams”, This way up gallery, London, England
2002 – E Shed, Bristol, England
1999 – Avant Graff, Chicane, Bristol, England
Group Exhibitions and events
2014 – And Friends Uk collective Gallerie le feuvre, paris,- “Paper party 2″ ‘richard & le feuvre, Geneve -“Artmageddon” Vertical gallery Chicago
2012 – See no evil , Bristol, Natural un natural history, rwa Bristol,England
2011 – Urban in Ibiza – Atzaro Ibiza, Ghosts of gone birds – Liverpool school of art and design, See no Evil Bristol,England
2010 – Rise of the non conformists, Whitecross street, London, Wide open walls , Gambia
2009 – Flying Eyeball, Gallery 24 Mayfair London, Friend & co Bristol.| Bristollisboa gallery, Lisbon, Portugal. |Tunnel 228, Waterloo, London,| Meeting of styles, London,England
2008 – Visual Street Performance, Barrio Alto, Lisbon,| Artists 11, Truman Brewery, London, | Big Chill, Festival, Glastonbury, Festival
2007 – The Bad Note, Dragon Bar, London, | One in ten, Forster Gallery, London,| Lattitude Festival, |Write for Gold, London
2006 – One the Seventh Day, Pimp Magazine, London
2005 – Natural Selection, British Graffiti Alsopp Contemporary, London,| Meeting of styles, Padova ,Italy
2004 – Meeting of styles, wintertur ,switzerland
2003 – Meeting of styles, Pori , Finland
2002 – Attitude festival, Montpellier France,
1999 – What’s in a Name, Retrospective of Hull’s Graffiti Scene, Quay Art, Hull, |Walls on Fire, Bristol,England
1996 – By Any Means, Wasps Gallery, Edinburgh Scotland.